Will jihadists in Nigeria and Somalia quit 16-years after?
From Boko Haram,formed in Maiduguri in 2002 to Al-Shabaab, which was founded in 2006, these militant groups have become some of the most dangerous in the world.
From Boni to Sambisa forests, jihadists have kidnapped, raped girls, recruited boys for battles in 16-years
For a period of 16-years and counting, Islamist militant groups, parading themselves as jihadists, have continued to wreck havoc on African nations.
The Eastern and Western regions of Africa have been bedevilled with the nefarious activities and attacks carried out by these two deadly Islamist militant groups.
The question on the lips of many is will these jihadists quit 16-years after the launch of terrible attacks on Africans.
Similarities between Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab
It is interesting to know that both Boko Haram members and Al-Shabaab members believe an austere form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Koran, known as Wahhabism.
In the same vein, both claim to be jihadists organisations although Boko Haram didn’t align itself with such until 2015.
While Boko Haram started out as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād, a Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad, Al-Shabaab started out as an offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union, which splintered into several smaller factions after its defeat in 2006.
Both insurgent groups have at different point pledged their allegiance to international and dreaded terrorists organisations - Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS) while Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda.
Al-Shabaab is synonymous with its hideouts in the dreaded Boni forest situated in Somalia and Boko Haram made the Sambisa forest in Borno a dreaded site for humans.
Kidnap, abuse of girls and recruiting boys for attacks and suicide missions
Like Al-Shabaab, like Boko Haram when it is time to kidnap young girls, rape and abuse these girls and recruit young boys for attacks and suicide mission.
These jihadists attack innocent citizens in various villages and towns and wreck uncontrollable havoc.
In a 2017 report on BBC, Salama Ali, who was investigating the disappearance of her two brothers kidnapped by Al-Shabaab, narrated how some females were abused and repeated raped by the jihadists after abduction or trick into getting a better life.
"Men used to come and have sex with me - I can't tell you the number. For those three years, every man was coming to sleep with me," says one female as she recounts her ordeal.
Another said: "They'd bring two or three men for each woman every night. We would be raped repeatedly."
Some women were forced to become the "wives" of al-Shabab militants, it appears, while others were held as slaves in a brothel.
Another report by Daily Beast in 2016, narrated how Boko Haram members taught their recruits how to rape females at gunpoint.
15-year-old Ahmed, who was kidnapped from his hometown, Baga in Northern Nigeria, narrated how he was kidnapped along with two of his neighbours and taken to Sambisa where he was forced to become a soldier.
Ahmed further narrated that just after two months training with the jihadists, his recruiters took him on a mission and just before they set off for the attack, he was told alongside other recruits to capture as many women and children as they could, and that they would be allowed to “have fun” when they returned to their base.
Ahmed said: “At first I didn’t understand what they meant by ‘you are going to have fun’ and nobody thought to explain. Days before we left for Gwoza, they began to show us what they wanted us to do.”
After the abduction of girls and women, Ahmed said heand other young recruits, watched as their commanders raped women and young girls abducted for two days.
“The girls will scream and cry for help, but [the militants] didn’t care. Sometimes they’ll be slapped and threatened with guns if they didn’t cooperate,” Ahmed said.
It could be inferred that with such freedom to abuse women at gun point and, it might be hard to end this battle anytime soon.
Affiliation with world renowned terrorist organisations
The insurgents have in 16-years ravaged various countries in eastern and western Africa that include Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria, Camaeroon, Niger, Chad and Republic of Benin.
However their ties with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as well as the Al-Qaeda has fuelled the intelligence and well laid out attacks that have claimed several lives and properties.
In 2012, Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to the Al-Qaeda and in February 2012, some of the group's leaders quarreled with Al-Qaeda over the union and quickly lost ground. However, this didn’t stop Al-Shabaab as the troop strength was estimated at 7,000 to 9,000 militants in 2014.
Between March 2015 and August 2016, Boko Haram aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. And just like the case of Al-Shabaab, this broke the group and splinter groups were formed. However, the strength of the foot soldiers increased killing tens of thousands and displacing 2.3 million from their homes.
After tasting the fame and accrued fortune from their loots and ransoms, it might not be totally out of place to say these militants aren't looking at quitting soon.
Some of the major havoc wrecked in Nigeria and Somalia
Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram have been ranked world's deadliest terror groups by the Global Terrorism Index following their deadly and unforgettable attacks.
Boko Haram is famous for the launch of a string of IED attacks against soft targets but had its first vehicle-borne IED attack in June 2011, when it attacked the Police headquarters in Abuja killing 6. In August same year, Boko Haram bombed the United Nations (UN) headquarters in Abuja, killing 11 UN staff members died as well as 12 others, with more than 100 injured. In april 2014, the insurgents kidnapped female students in a school in Chibok town, Borno and in 2015 heightened their attacks by extending to cameroon and Niger. 2016 and 2017 saw the jihadists breeding female suicide bombings to wreck havoc in North East Nigeria.
In 2009, al-Shabaab carried out a suicide car bomb attack against the African Union base in Mogadishu killing at least six Burundian peacekeepers. In May 2009, Al-Shabaab along with allied group Hizbul Islam, launched a major offensive in the city of Mogadishu to take over the city, leaving hundreds killed and injured and tens of thousands displaced. In October 2010, Al-Shabaab left the world running helter skelter when attacked a major hotel in Mogadishu killing scores of individuals. A suicide car bomb was rammed into a hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and then armed militants stormed the building to kill at will. The group have continued in its renewed strikes despite revolt from the military but just like Boko Haram, the al-Shabaab have also taken delight in sending girls and females for suicide mission.
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